Lasallian Education is the story of the vision and innovations of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and patron saint of teachers.
De La Salle transformed education by forming a community of educators with whom he developed a spirituality of teaching and learning, to give a human and Christian education to young people, especially the poor.
ST. JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE - OUR FOUNDER
Saint John Baptist de La Salle (1651 - 1719) opened his first school in Reims, his birthplace in northeastern France, in 1679. He was convinced that without Christian schools some poor children would be lost both to the church and to civil society. His initial efforts led him to organize the teachers whose services he had secured into a religious community called the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Over a period of thirty years, he opened schools in several French cities and towns and worked with numerous teachers and students from various socio-economic levels. By the time of his death he had founded different types of educational institutions: primary schools, teacher training centers, boarding schools, and homes for delinquents.
Alert to the needs of his time, he was an innovator in the development of teacher training programs and in curricular and pedagogical practices. Although de La Salle’s schools were primarily for the poor, they attracted children from families of differing economic backgrounds. However, he tolerated nothing of the social segregating which was the practice of the day. He prescribed uniform management procedures for the classroom instruction of students from different social and academic levels.
De La Salle regarded a school as a community of believers working cooperatively to achieve a shared vision. De La Salle was a prolific writer and his educational ideas are embodied in several major works: Rule of the Brothers of the Christian schools, Meditations for the Time of Retreat, and the Conduct of Schools, as well as in the textbooks he wrote for students. His contributions to Catholic education led Pope Pius XII in 1950 to proclaim him the Patron of Teachers.
The Lasallian pedagogy has continued for more than three centuries. Centering on Catholic values, personal relationships and creativity, Lasallian Education emphasizes academic excellence, faith formation, inclusion, respect for the individual, service and social justice. The Lasallian Education story is about transformative experiences that enrich each student's cultural, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual development.
Today, the De La Salle Christian Brothers and their Partners sponsor one of the largest education networks in the world. In the Lasallian Region of North America, the Lasallian Education network consists of over 109 schools and ministries in the US and Canada. There are 7 colleges/universities, 54 high schools (2 are Cristo Rey), 16 middle schools (11 are San Miguel), and 4 elementary schools. Other ministries, which total 28, include youth care facilities, residential and day treatment programs for young people with special educational and behavioral needs, retreat centers, after school programs, and summer camps.
In the 21st century, Lasallian Education continues to respond to students through advances in teaching, technology and scholarship. In Lasallian communities, educators touch hearts, stimulate minds and cultivate leadership to prepare students for life, work, and service to society and the Church.
QUALITIES OF A LASALLIAN EDUCATION
The Lasallian educational mission provides transformative experiences that are innovative and holistic.
- Teaching methodology based on the vision and spirituality of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, predicated upon personal relationships and a focus on each student's learning needs
- Faithful to the Lasallian mission of human and Christian education for the young, especially the poor, for more than three centuries
- Conducted by the De La Salle Christian Brothers and Lasallian Partners
- Centered on the Gospel and Catholic values
- Advancement of innovations in teaching, technology and scholarship